Canadian Forest Service Publications

Soil displacement and compaction effects on conifer seedlings in Southeast British Columbia: Study establishment. 2014. Maynard, D.G.; Hogg, K.E.; Wass, E.F.; Curran, M.P. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre, Victoria, British Columbia. Information Report BC-X-433. 31p.

Year: 2014

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35444

Language: English

Series: Information Report (PFC - Victoria)

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record


Soil disturbance from forest harvesting has been shown to compromise site productivity. We established satellite trials in five of the Long-Term Soil Productivity (LTSP) sites in southeast British Columbia between 1999 and 2003. The objective of these trials was to determine the effects of soil compaction and displacement on tree growth on smaller plots than those in the LTSP. Eight treatments of various combinations of compaction and displacement were included at each of the five LTSP sites: undisturbed, no compaction; undisturbed, light compaction; undisturbed, heavy compaction; shallow gouge, no compaction; shallow gouge, light compaction; deep gouge, no compaction; deep gouge, light compaction; and deposit, no compaction. Each treatment was replicated a minimum of 20 times at each site in most cases. Plots were 1.5 m x 1.5 m with at least 1.5 m between plots. Douglasfir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii) was planted at all five sites; lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Dougl.) at the three sites in the East Kootenays (Mud Creek, Emily Creek, and Kootenay East); and western white pine (Pinus monticola Dougl.) at the two sites in the West Kootenays (Rover Creek and McPhee Creek). Tree growth, soil physical and chemical properties, and microclimate data will be measured at varying intervals during the first 10 years following planting. This report describes study establishment and presents some initial background data.

Plain Language Summary

Researchers from Natural Resources Canada and the BC Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Operations established experimental sites in the East Kootenay Region of BC to study the effects of soil compaction and displacement (gouges and deposits) on tree growth. Excavator operators treated harvested areas with various combinations of soil disturbances; tree planters then planted each plot with native conifer species. The research team will be measuring tree growth, soil properties and microclimate data for ten years. This information report describes the establishment of the study plots and the treatment methods, and presents initial background data.

The researchers from the two ministries created these trials to complement a long-term international project, established in the 1990’s, investigating the impacts of soil compaction on forest productivity. The research plots were established adjacent to five of these long-term project sites.